Let’s Hear Their Voices
Sometimes the things you need to say cannot be said with words alone. We need our songs, which can serve as a protest, a prayer, an expression of love or even launch a movement.
This July, starting next week, marks the second year of Rattlestick's New Songs Now series, where we invite our audience into the songwriters’ process. (This is part of our larger effort to make space for different kinds of artists to share work in a variety of mediums.) I have asked a select group of songwriters to share a variety of songs with you - songs that are from musicals and songs that stand alone, songs they have lived with for years and songs that are newly-minted. Although these songwriters are vastly different in their style and perspective, what they have in common is authenticity and ambition. They are storytellers who, in their performances, bring a depth of interpretation that only a creator can bring to a song. To stir things up, we have paired these songwriters - each in about 30 minute sets - with different musical approaches and employ a guest artist to facilitate. This makes unique conversations possible between and among the songwriters, facilitators, and our audience.
Next week also will bring the production of To the End of the Land, a theatrical adaption of David Grossman's bestselling novel, at the Lincoln Center Theatre Festival. Mr. Grossman's novel is, in essence, antiwar, depicting the corrosive nature of Israel's military culture. Some theater artists have boycotted the play because this production is sponsored by the Israeli government whose occupation policy they are protesting. I find my own reaction to be captured in many ways by the playwright Robbie Baitz:*
"Many people I respect and adore, theatre artists, have endorsed a cultural boycott of an Israeli production of The Habimah & Cameri Theaters at Lincoln Center as part of the festival. They have done so for a deeply considered and admirable reason, which I happen to respectfully disagree with. Cultural boycotts create negative space, silence ...David Grossman, the author of the play in question is a magisterial force in Israeli letters ... I believe in protest, not desolation, and making art is an opposite to desolation. A path forward."
Like the artists in our New Songs Now series, David Grossman, a deep humanist, has a voice to be reckoned with. Let's hear it.